In my opinion, a big and often overlooked part of parenting is to give your kids a big vision for their lives. I think it’s wise to start doing this as early as possible, when your kids are very young. As a dad of three boys I pray often that God would help me raise my three sons to be strong, brave, godly men who make a great impact in this world for Jesus Christ.
My three sons are still quite young (6, 4, 2), so I have no idea how the “results” will turn out, but right now I’m aiming to do two main things in my parenting:
1) Parent my sons in a culture of grace. I want to soak my sons’ identity as deeply as I can in the grace (undeserved love) of God, chiefly by modeling my own enjoyment of God’s grace, the enjoyment of that grace in marriage to their mom, and by extending them lots of grace. (I hope to write more on this in the future).
2) To give my sons big vision for their lives, to captivate them with the big purposes God has for them.
This week if you asked my sons what they want to be when they grow up, this is what they’d say (it tends to change every few weeks): My oldest wants to be an FBI agent, my middle son wants to be a spy, and my youngest son wants to be Spiderman. Part of me hopes my sons pursue these vocations, I’d love to hear the stories that would come out these professions! :)
I’m glad my boys are currently dreaming big about what they want to do with their lives. I never want this to stop for them. I believe God created us in his image and put us on the planet to be fruitful and make a great impact for him. I believe it honors God to raise kids who are pumped full of big vision for the impact their lives can have. I dedicated my newest book, The Big Story, to my sons with these words of big vision:
This book is dedicated to my three sons: Cru, Hudson, and Gus. Buzzard boys, I love you, like you, and enjoy you so much. Being your dad is a nonstop adventure. My prayer for all three of you is that you grow up to be brave and happy men who live in the thick of this Big Story and cause a ruckus on this planet.
Right now there’s one main way I give my sons vision for their future. You can try this too.
Several times a week, often when I’m tucking my sons in to bed at the end of the day, I spend a minute or two with each boy and I simply say to them “I believe God has big plans for your life.” Their eyes get big when I say this and this almost always leads to interesting conversation, ideas, and questions.
Dads and moms, I think this is one of the most powerful and important things you can do with your kids. Give them vision. Start now. Use this simple sentence, “I believe God has big plans for your life,” and watch where the years of conversation, prayer, and exploration go from there.